February 24, 2024

Classic Wheels Spotlight: 1979 Volkswagon Beetle

Magieras provide TLC for VW Convertible

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1979 Volkswagon Beetle Front

Toni Ann and Ron Magiera have had their 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible for about 15 years. Toni Ann admittedly has had the ‘Beetle’ bug, since the late 1960s, when she got her first bug – a green 1968 with a 4-speed transmission. Since that first Bug, there have been several over the years.

The ‘79 VW Beetle Convertible she currently has was acquired through a nephew while they were living in Colorado. The nephew, who needed some home improvements (Ron’s specialty), swapped the repairs for three vehicles. While the VW convertible needed some TLC, it became the keeper!

Being an air-cooled engine, the Beetle couldn’t possibly meet the U.S. emissions standards of the day. The last year for the VW Beetle in the U.S. was 1979, although production continued in Mexico until 2003.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1979 Volkswagon Beetle Side

On the right side, in front of the door, there is a badge that says “Karmann.” It indicates that this vehicle was built at the Wilhelm Karmann GmbH automobile manufacturing plant in Osnabruck, Germany. Only the convertibles had this distinction.

Over the years, Toni Ann and Ron worked on getting their VW convertible back into factory condition. The top and interior have been replaced with the original style, to be as close as possible to what the factory put out in 1979. The floor pans, carpets, and running boards have also been replaced. The original wheels have been replaced with a sharp, chrome variant.

One of the most significant things about this VW’s engine is that it features fuel injection. Not all Type 1 Beetles came with fuel injection. The fuel injection option was available from 1975-1979. As strange as it sounds, when VW went to the fuel injection engines, the horsepower dropped from 57 hp to 48 hp!

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1979 Volkswagon Beetle Rear

Although the odometer reads 168,000 miles, the rebuilt engine has somewhere around 30,000-35,000 miles on it. While they were living in Colorado, the VW was a daily driver for Ron, who used it to get back and forth from work. He said it gets a very respectable 30 miles to the gallon.

Now that they live in Wisconsin, the rag top is in storage over the winter months. While the restoration is roughly 85 percent done, Ron says there are still some cosmetics that need to be taken care of, including the windshield and seals that need to be upgraded, along with some other minor repairs.

Considering that their Beetle is going to be 45 years old, it is still able to get up and go anywhere they want to go. When they are out cruising around, people are always giving them compliments and a ‘thumbs ups.’

Because the distance they would have to travel to any local car shows near their Friendship, Wisconsin, home is considerable, they really don’t show the car. The smiles and head nods are all that they need. The couple says they are looking for a Karmann Ghia and might be willing to part with their beautiful convertible if the right one comes around.